Photopheresis is a procedure that might be recommended by your doctor to prevent or to treat graft versus host disease (GvHD).
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Photopheresis for Preventing GvHD
Photopheresis, also known as extracorporeal photoimmunotherapy, is a procedure that might be recommended by your doctor to prevent or to treat graft versus host disease (GvHD). This procedure, a form of apheresis therapy, offers another way to try to suppress the donor lymphocytes (type of white blood cells) that stimulate immune reactions and aid in the development of GvHD.
First introduced for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, photopheresis has since been evaluated in studies and randomized trials as a potential treatment for autoimmune diseases, solid organ transplant rejection, and Graft versus Host Disease after a stem cell transplant.
How is Photopheresis done?
The procedure consists of placing an IV line into the patient's arm. Peripheral blood is drawn into the instrument where the white cells, or buffy coat, and a small amount of plasma are isolated and mixed with UVADEX, a drug that can be activated by light. The buffy coat is exposed to ultraviolet light (UVA) to activate the drug and then returned to the patient. The entire procedure takes about four hours. Side effects are minimal and may include nausea and sunlight sensitivity.
Why does my doctor recommend Photopheresis?
The precise mode of action of ECP is incompletely defined at present, but it is believed that multiple mechanisms are most likely producing the therapeutic effect. One mechanism involves the cross-linking of the DNA in the T-cells disrupting their metabolic/proliferative functions. It is also believed that the photo-damaged cells may induce suppressor T-cells to recognize and eliminate the malignant or autosensitive T-cell clones in an anti-tumor immune response.
IBMT in Indianapolis is the one of two photopheresis treatment centers in Indiana. Patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, organ rejection or Graft versus Host Disease can now be treated close to home in a personalized, convenient setting. Call (800) 361-0016 to refer for a consultation.